Breaking Through The Customer Cloud

On Monday, December 15, the New York Outpost organized a panel discussion in collaboration with the Young Professionals Committee of the Swiss American Chamber of Commerce (SACC) in New York. The event was hosted at UBS on Avenue of the Americas, and was attended by a crowd of more than 30 people.

The panel featured Arti Sahgal, co-founder & chief revenue officer at Coresystems and Dr. Isabelle Engeler, postdoctoral researcher and project leader at the Center for Consumer Insight, University of St.Gallen (HSG), who is currently conducting research at NYU. The discussion was deftly moderated by Katharina Hellwig, PhD candidate in marketing at the Faculty of Economics and Business, University of Lausanne.

  “ My main lesson is to commit to the US Market ” – Arti Sahgal, Coresystems

My main lesson is to commit to the US Market” – Arti Sahgal, Coresystems

Throughout the discussion, Arti shared her experience in expanding Coresystems’s activities to the United States. She detailed her go-to-market strategy, the major challenges she faced, and the main lessons that she learned. Specifically, she mentioned that recognizing and adapting to consumer preferences and behavioral patterns have been key ingredients to Coresystems’s success in conquering the US market. Her experience was analyzed in light of the latest research on consumer behavior. Dr Engeler talked about bundling strategies when it comes to pricing, and decrypted the role of consumer motivation, giving examples of experiments in the field of sports. Katharina presented the markets as social constructs influenced by culture, environment, history, and ideology – and explained how behaviors in specific markets are constrained by such determinants.

  “ Markets are social systems that exist within a specific environment ” – Katharina Hellwig, HEC Lausanne

Markets are social systems that exist within a specific environment” – Katharina Hellwig, HEC Lausanne

With Dr Engeler specialized in consumer psychology and Katharina providing a more strategic and market-systems focus, our scholars gave the audience a broad overview of the field of consumer research and linked it to Arti’s perspective as an experienced entrepreneur.

The discussion was followed by a rich and interactive Q&A, where intercultural issues, specific market strategies, and ethical considerations when conducting research were tackled.


Our guests had the opportunity to casually extend the discussion with our panelists during holiday drinks at a nearby venue.

 Dr Engeler, with Deputy Consul of Switzerland Nadine Olivieri (left), co-organizer Sirpa Tsimal (center) and Diane Artal, attorney and IP expert (right)

Dr Engeler, with Deputy Consul of Switzerland Nadine Olivieri (left), co-organizer Sirpa Tsimal (center) and Diane Artal, attorney and IP expert (right)

This discussion went a long way toward bridging the gap between academia and practitioners. As Arti noted, “we analyzed and observed the market and consumers ourselves, but if we had had enough money, we would have tried to get some consumer research data and would have called Isabelle.” It also provided an opportunity for Dr Engeler to highlight the exceptional relationship that HSG nurtures with the local business environment, favoring partnerships between Masters’ degree students and companies in business projects. However, as Katharina pointed out, such relationships are somewhat rare in academia. Indeed, there is an observable lack of interaction between research and the field. Still, Katharina mentioned the key role that entrepreneurs such as Arti play in inspiring academic research. Swissnex, with the mission of “connecting the dots” is proud to pioneer and foster stronger collaboration between the field and the lab by bringing entrepreneurs and academics together.


The Young Professional Committee of the Swiss-American Chamber of Commerce was the ideal partner for this event, and we are grateful for their initiative.

This event was made possible thanks to the support of UBS and the University of Lausanne (HEC). 


About our participants:

Arti Sahgal

Co-Founder & Chief Revenue Officer, Coresystems

Arti holds a BSc in Business Administration and Psychology from the University of Berne and has studied Digital Marketing and Social Media at NYU. In 2002, she founded Coresystems, pioneering in mobile business solutions in the intelligent cloud.

Arti moved to New York City in 2010 to establish Coresystems’s first subsidiary in North America.

In a short period of time, the US subsidiary acquired more than 15,000 users and added a team of over a dozen employees. Today, Coresystems is used by 140,000 users across the globe and employs 150 talented professionals at over 15 locations worldwide.


Isabelle Engeler


Postdoctoral researcher at the Center for Customer Insight at the University of St. Gallen, visiting scholar at the New York University.

Isabelle is a consumer psychologist. She does experimental research in the lab and the field, using quantitative survey methods. She is currently collaborating with companies in the US and Switzerland (particularly in the consumer goods industry and sports event industry). Her current research projects focus on understanding the role of consumers’ emotions and motivation in judgments and behavior in different domains, including behavioral pricing and finance, market research, and goal achievement.


Katharina Hellwig


PhD candidate at HEC Lausanne, visiting scholar at Schulich School of Business, Toronto.

Katharina looks at markets as social systems and the role of multiple stakeholders in the market creation process. Her research focuses on the sharing economy, peer-to-peer hospitality platforms (couch surfing & AirBnB), food-sharing communities, alternative modes of circulation, markets of self-transformation, and materialism. Her work is mostly qualitative; she draws on mass media representations, interviews and ethnographies to generate her insights.




If you wish to have more information about this event, or to get in touch with our panelists, please contact